Date published: Wednesday 17th June 2020 10:05
Mikel Arteta has signalled his intention to keep David Luiz and warned Arsenal’s hierarchy the club risk falling further behind if they don’t invest in transfers this summer.
Arsenal had an option to extend Luiz’s contract at The Emirates, but that has expired and he has been linked with a return to Portugal.
However, the Spaniard says he still wants to keep the 32-year-old centre-back and says he hopes an agreement can be reached.
“I’m really happy with David,”Arteta said. “I want to keep him here with us. He’s been a key role model for me since I joined.
“I like what he produces on the pitch. I like his influence around the players and the club. I’d love to keep him.”
The Gunners return to Premier League action tonight at Manchester City with Arteta making it clear that a place in the Champions League is their target in the remaining 10 games.
“The fact that we’ve not been in the Champions League for the past three seasons has put an enormous amount of pressure on the club in financial terms,” said Arteta.
“We know our responsibility and the aims – and how much that would relax the financial position that we are in – but we have to go game by game. It is not achievable in one or two games.
“It’s a process over the 10 games that we have. We know the target, the difficulty of the task because there are a lot of clubs in that fight. We have to give it a go and believe that we can do it.”
‘If we stand still that gap will become bigger’
The former Man City assistant has admitted that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown his spending plans into disarray, but he has warned they face the prospect of losing more ground on their rivals if they standstill.
“We are trying to put a plan together to improve what we have,” added Arteta “We haven’t been able to achieve the goals we have wanted in the last three years and there is a reason behind it.
“If we stand still that gap will become bigger and bigger. I haven’t come here to accept that.
“The challenge for us is to improve the players we already have and find ways to improve the squad in the right positions to give us the best possible chance to compete at that level. It’s getting higher and higher every year.
“The plans I had [for the summer] obviously wasn’t considering the coronavirus and all the side effects that has, but we know what we have to do to improve the team.
“Whether we’ll be able to the way we want will be a different story. My focus right now is just to improve the team, get the results that we need to give us the best chance possible to get into Europe and convince the players this is the right environment for them.”
READ MORE: Man City v Arsenal: Arteta’s return to Etihad